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  • 27 Dec 2009
    My christmas hasn't been too bad at all if i'm honest. I went to the midnight church service at a church near me & it was a good one as usual...thats probably why i've been every year for the past 4 years. Whilst there  i did something i have never done before EVER, now i'm not a religious person but i went & had a Blessing done. I had no idea WHAT communion was so i just settled for the blessing & i think it made the night more special for me given the way things had been going. Was Round at mums on xmas day & she had the whole family round & we had a great time, lots to eat & the drink certainly flowed but then it always does when we're all there. Mum did us proud as usual with the xmas dinner and i provided the wine. she was going to wash up too but i beat her to it.....lol. All in all it was a pretty good day & i didnt do too badly for pressies although there was one i'd have given  absolutely ANYTHING for & that would be to have Charllet here to share xmas with. Lets hope i get that next year cos its something that simply can't be beat, sharing xmas with loved ones. I hope everyones xmas was as good as mine wasLove Anna Marie xxxxxx
    1903 Posted by Anna-Marie Trindall
  • My christmas hasn't been too bad at all if i'm honest. I went to the midnight church service at a church near me & it was a good one as usual...thats probably why i've been every year for the past 4 years. Whilst there  i did something i have never done before EVER, now i'm not a religious person but i went & had a Blessing done. I had no idea WHAT communion was so i just settled for the blessing & i think it made the night more special for me given the way things had been going. Was Round at mums on xmas day & she had the whole family round & we had a great time, lots to eat & the drink certainly flowed but then it always does when we're all there. Mum did us proud as usual with the xmas dinner and i provided the wine. she was going to wash up too but i beat her to it.....lol. All in all it was a pretty good day & i didnt do too badly for pressies although there was one i'd have given  absolutely ANYTHING for & that would be to have Charllet here to share xmas with. Lets hope i get that next year cos its something that simply can't be beat, sharing xmas with loved ones. I hope everyones xmas was as good as mine wasLove Anna Marie xxxxxx
    Dec 27, 2009 1903
  • 13 May 2008
    Well another weekend gone by this time up in brum , spent the whole weekend as me , sat and sunday time as me but with no make up on cause of the heat , but was cool people were double taking me having to look twice and see was i girl , we even went to a sports bar to watch the F1 and with out any issues which was cool  , and a fab nite was had out on hurst st , pics on my flickr follow link bellowBrum weeeknd flickr pics
    1901 Posted by christina dearlove
  • Well another weekend gone by this time up in brum , spent the whole weekend as me , sat and sunday time as me but with no make up on cause of the heat , but was cool people were double taking me having to look twice and see was i girl , we even went to a sports bar to watch the F1 and with out any issues which was cool  , and a fab nite was had out on hurst st , pics on my flickr follow link bellowBrum weeeknd flickr pics
    May 13, 2008 1901
  • 24 Apr 2011
                              The Javalina Cantina   This is for south of the border foodies, or those who want to eat like one. Those who know me know that I am passionate about music, those who really know me know I also love to cook.  Living where I do I love  southwestern or Mexican food.  I don't know how far I will go with this, but my hope is to share some recipies for different dishes, some authentic, some simple (throw together things) that are still very good.  I hope to do this somewhat like my music blog and keep adding to it. I have learned so much from freinds, coworkers, and my latina ex wife, who was a horrible cook.............and a psyco, but gave me some good starting points for things I improved on.                                                       Tortillas                                          (tor tee' yas) I know this is a bad way to start this but this is one thing I have never made from scratch.  Where I live there are probably thousands of tortillarias where you can just walk in and buy a dozen fresh homade tortillas that are still warm from the griddle.  You can also buy pretty good ones from just about any grocery store.  You can also buy very bad tortillas from just about any grocery store.  The key is the shortening that is used and you don't really have to even read the lable to know the difference.  The really white, or light colored ones, yeah, those are NOT tortillas.  They are sawdust flavored throwing disks.  Authentic tortillas are made with lard and are a little darker in color and they taste much better. They may not be the healthiest but there really is a difference. I have had a recipie for tortillas for half my life but have always been to lazy to make them when I can buy them just as easy, In Mexican homes tortills are also torn into strips at the dinner table and used as spoons to eat beans and soups, or pinched around cut up meat to pick up and eat your meat and you eat the tortilla with whatever you pick up with it. Mix 2 cups of flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking powder.  Cut in 2 tbs shortening, (preferably lard) until mixture resembles corn meal. Gradually add 1/2, to 3/4 cup warm water, mix until the dough forms a ball. Knead 15 to 20 times and let stand for 15 minutes. Devide dough into 12 equal portions, shape into balls. Put the balls between two pieces of wax paper, or on a floured surface and roll them into 7 inch circles.  Cook on a medium-hot griddle for about 20 seconds on each side.   You can use these to make burro's or make quesadillas by puttting one on a medium griddle and cook one side until it just starts to brown.  Flip it and cover it with sharp cheddar, or a mixture of cheddar and jack cheese.  I like to top mine with green chili strips, and sometimes with a little salsa.                                        Salsa   If you go to Mexico and ask for pico de gallo, you will get a cup of chopped fruit with chili sauce poured over it, sounds strange but is really good. Here in the states, pico de gallo, or pico, is a chunky salsa. I almost always have fresh home made salsa in the house and I grow most of it in the back yard.  It's very easy to make and once you eat it you won't buy it in a jar ever again.                                    Pico De Gallo                                                (pee' co day guy' yo)   Core and cut 6 or 7 large tomatos into 1/4 in slices, then cut the slices into 1/4 inch strips, turn and cut the 1/4 inch strips into 1/4 inch chunks. Put into a bowl.  Cut !/2 of a large onion the same way, or use about two bunches of green onions cut into 1/4 inch pieces. The green onions give a little more color and presentation to the salsa. Add the onions to the bowl. Next is garlic, and I should tell you that I LOVE garlic. I mean I think Ben and Jerry's should make a garlic ice cream.  I will always back off a little what I actually use but two of the biggest (flavors) in good Mexican food are garlic, and lard.  I use 6 to 8 cloves of garlic, I recommend at least 4.  The garlic needs to be crushed and minced. Half each clove, peel the skin off, and cut off the the hard dark stem at the top.  To crush, you can use the side of a knife blade and sqush it on a cutting board. I use a metal meat tenderizing hammer to crush mine.  Minse it and add it to the bowl. Next you need the fire, and using fresh chilis you never know what you are going to get.  Sometimes 1 is too much, sometimes 3 aren't enough. I grow my own so I know what to expect from my plants, you will have to experiment.  I say start with one Jalapeno, or serrano pepper. Cut the top off, cut in half length wise, and keep slicing it that way untill it is a bunch of very thin strips.  Then turn it and mince it.  Either wear food service gloves when you do this or don't plan on touching your eyes until tomorrow.  Add them to bowl.  Next is celantro, coarse chop about half a bunch, (about a cup, or a little more), and add to bowl. Sprinkle some salt in the bowl and stir, sprinkle some more salt and stir again. You should always make your salsa at least 6 hours before you plan to eat it. It will taste better 6hrs, to a day after it's made and the flavors mix.  Put it in the refrigerator and stir it periodically.  I usually start tasting it after about three hours and see if any thing needs to be (bumped up).  Be carefull about adding chili's because sometimes they may not be mixed through and you may taste "all tomatoes" and may get a reall big surprize later if you add chili.     You can prepare this in a blender or food proccessor but two things, do it one ingrediant at a time separately, and mince the garlic and chop the celantro by hand.  Your salsa will not look the same doing it mechanicaly but will still taste good.  It just depends on how you want it to look.                                        Salsa Verde                                        (green salsa) Green salsa is much less work and has a little different taste. It is spicy and a little sweet. You can do almost anything with any salsa but in addition to eating the green with corn chips, I think it is really good on white meats and seafood.  If you are making fish, shrimp, or chicken tacos, this would be my choice. Take 10 tomatillos, and I really have no idea how available they will be for some of you.  If you don't know what they are, they are a type of, or related to tomatoes.  They are small, about an inch and a half, to two inches thick.  They are always green, they never turn red on the plant and they grow with a waxie loose skin wraped around them.  They are sweeter than a regular tomatoe.  They are an excelent choice for an uncovered garden because the birds won't touch them because of the cover skin.  They sell them here in most grocery stores and you can even buy seeds for them in garden departments. Anyway, take about 10 to 12 of them, peel the waxie skin off them, core them, and put them in a blender or proccessor.  Chop a 1/4, to a 1/2 of a yellow onion and put it in with the tomatillos. Crush and mince about 4 cloves of garlic, put them in with the other ingredients. I like my green a little spicy, it's a nice contrast to the sweet of the tomatillo. I use 2 jalapenos or two serranos. Chop them small but you don't need to mince. Add them to the other stuff.  Turn on your blender and let it run untill everything is liquified. Add salt, about a 1/4, to 1/2 tsp. Run the machine to mix it well.  Put it in a bowl, add celantro, less than with the pico de gallo. maybe 1/4 of a bunch finely chopped.  You just want it for color and to add a little flavor.  Like I said earlier, this is very good with fish, shrimp or chicken tacos.  It's good on corn chips too.                                       Easy Red Salsa Use all the ingredients from pico de gallo but substitute a large can of chopped tomatoes for the whole tomatoes.  Put the chopped tomatoes, the chopped onion, the jalapeno or serrano and minced garlic in a blender and liquify it. Add 1/4 tsp salt and run it again. Move it to a bowl, fine chop a 1/4 bunch of celantro and stir it in.  Canned tomatoes have "that taste".  You can eliminate the canned taste by increasing the garlic and celantro a little.  Good for corn chips or beef tacos.                                       Guacamole Half two or three very ripe avacodos, romove pits. Scoop the avacodo into a bowl. Crush and mince two garlic cloves and add to mix. Add juice from half a lime. Salt to taste.           Optional - half a minced jalapeno, one very thin slice of onion, finely minced.                                                                         Side dishes                                         Frijoles - "beans" refried                                      (free ho' lays)    You can ask a hundred different people how they make their beans and probably get a hundred different answers when it comes to ingredients, this is how I make mine.  The entire process takes about a day and a half, or there is a quicker version that takes about 5 hours, but it's not hard work.  The difference is how you prep the beans. I prefer the slow version but there really is no difference in taste.  It is said that doing them the slow way makes them..................less leathal. If you know what I mean.  Prep the beans, take one pound of dry pinto beans and rinse them, remove all the half beans.  Slow method - put them in a covered pot with 6 cups of cold water before you go to bed and let them sit over night.  Fast method - put on the stove on high, bring to a boil and let boil for about five minutes.  Remove from heat and let stand for at least one hour.   Cooking the beans - add one and a half tsp salt, 1/4 of a yellow onion finely chopped, one medium tomatoe, finely chopped, one four ounce can of diced green chilis, 6 cloves of minced garlic..........no, really, 6 cloves, ok, a little less if you want, and a pinch of oregano.... a small pinch. Cook where they are just barely boiling for about 4 hrs.  The beans should be tender when they are done. Preparing for the next step - when the beans are almost done, get a large frying pan, not a teflon coated one unless you want to ruin the pan and eat a lot of teflon., I prefer cast iron because the weight of the pan will help during the last step. You will also need about a 1/4, to a 1/2 pound of bacon. Less if it is fatty, more if it is lean. You will also need a hand potatoe masher. Cook the bacon till it is pretty crisp and put it on a plate.  Now this is the most important step of the process. EAT THE BACON.  You only cooked the bacon to get the bacon grease. I hope you didn't toss it already.  When the beans are done and the bacon grease is fairly hot. Remove about half of the liquid from the beans but save it, you will probably need it.  Make sure the bacon grease is pretty warm but not really hot.  We all know what happens when you throw water into a pan of hot grease.  Very carefully dump the beans with half of the liquid still in them into the pan and turn up the heat to medium high.  As the beans start to fry begin smashing them with the masher.  As you mash the beans they will absorb more liquid and become dryer.  Add the left over bean juice as needed to keep them kind of runny.  It is possible that you may even need to add water if you run out of bean juice and they are too dry.  If you are using the type of masher that has a wire masher it works best if you use very quick up and down strokes.  I used to have one that was a flat plate with holes in it and it worked really well for this.  When they are done you can put them in a plastic container and microwave them before you serve them.  A pound is a lot of beans but we usually will have them with different meals for a few days or make bean burros one night.  You can top them with a little cheddar, or a little canned enchilada sauce, or both, or they are very good plain.  They will be much better than any canned beans you have eaten.........but perhaps not as healthy.  Again, it's the bacon grease or lard that makes taste so good.  Enjoy                                            Arroz - rice, or spanish rice This is a pretty easy side, and a little healthier than the beans.  You can do them two ways, completely from scratch, or cheating just a little. From scratch, you will need about a cup and a half of the pico de gallo from further up the page. To cheat just a little, I use one 7oz can of salsa, the better the salsa, the better the rice will taste.  I use Herdez salsa casera, it is a really good quality canned salsa that is available in most grocery stores, although if you are in Canada or the UK, all bets are off.  I usually start with one cup of uncooked rice, This should be enough for four people, or two with leftovers.  You will need a large frying pan with a lid, some extra vigin olive oil, unless you WANT to go the lard route, a metal spatula, and a large measureng cup. One that holds at least 4 cups, and the salsa, either the canned, or the home made. The olive oil is good and more healthy, but I would never do beans with it. Put either the can of salsa, or the cup and a half of the home made pico in the large measuring cup, add enough water to the salsa to bring the cup up to four cups of liquid.  Add one and a half tsp of salt to it and stir to desolve the salt. Don't use a teflon pan.  Heat the pan up to medium high and put just enough olive oil in the pan to cover the bottom of the pan.  When the oil gets hot, just about the point where it starts to smoke, pour the rice into the oil and start stirring it right away.  Keep stirring it continuosly, don't let the rice brown, it should change to a different shade of white, I can't explain, you will know it when you see it.  When almost all of the rice has changed color, lower the heat a little and VERY CAREFULLY add the water, salsa, salt mix to the rice.  Again, we all know what happens when you pour water into hot oil, be very careful.  Stir it a couple of times and cover it.  Stir every few minutes to make sure it doesn't stick.  If you have the heat right it should be just barely boiling.  The closer it gets to being done, the dryer it will get and faster it will stick and burn so watch close when it's almost done.  If you did everything perfect it should be almost dry right when the rice is fully cooked. I will eat a bite when it's almost dry and if the rice is still a little firm, I will add about a half cup of water and continue cooking.  You can prepare this in advance also, it microwaves very well.  Just add about a half cup of water to it before you put it in the microwave.  Some people will put different things in their rice for presentation, I don't.  But I have eaten at good Mexican restaurants where they have put a very small amount of cooked carrots, or even peas in it.  The only thing I do to give it a look is use home made pico made with green onions, they stand out and add to the flavor.  Enjoy                                                                                    For the grill Marinade for white meat.  This works really well on white meat and seafood, I have tried it on pork and didn't care for it, but it's great for chicken and seafood.  Mix 8 oz of orange juice, the juice from five limes, 3/4 cup chopped celantro, 1/2 cup chopped parsely, 1/8 cup chopped basil, 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil, tsp salt, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper, and 6 cloves crushed and minced garlic...........(6 CLOVES), and a tsp of onion powder.  Marinate you meat in the refridgerator at least 4 hrs, preferably a day.  If you are doing seafood use a large container to marinate and put the meat on bamboo skewers before you put it in the marinade.  This way the skewers will be in liquid the whole time you are marinating and won't burn when you put them on the grill.  I wanted to get a whole meal done today before I quit, I'm not going to make it.  I will put the last few things in tomorrow.  But, remember when grilling seafood that it only takes about 3 minutes a side and it is done.                                       Tacos de Mariscos - Sea food tacos I like to use a mixture of shrimp and scallops, but sword fish is also good on the grill. Use medium shrimp, 1 lb, small scallops (about the size of a marble) 1 lb, and/or one or two sword fish steaks.  I buy my shrimp already deviened and peeled, I alternate shrimp and scallops on a bamboo skewer or if using swordfish, cut it into 3/4 inch squares and alternate them into the mix too.  I alternate them so when I serve them, everyone can just grab a skewer and make their own tacos.  With just the shrimp and scallops you will get about 6 to 8 skewers and each skewer will make two, to three tacos.  Use the marinade listed above and marinate the skewers in the refridgerator at least 4 hours, sometimes I will put them in marinade one afternoon and cook them the next afternoon.  I use a cake pan to marinate them in, the skewers fit very nicely in it. I always mesquite smoke my meat on the grill but oak, apple, or even pecan would probably work well with sea food.  If you don't live in the desert, I just walk down to the corner and pick my mesquite up off the ground, you can probably find smoking chips of these woods in the charcoal section at the grocery store.  Soak the wood chips in water for about 15 minutes before cooking.  I drop mine in water about the same time I start my fire if I am using charcoal.  When you spread your coals after they are ready push a few to the outside edge and put the smoking chips on those.  That way if they "light up" they won't burn your food.  Cook the skewers on a medium hot grill for about 3 minutes on one side, turn and cook 3 minutes on the other side.  The shrimp will be pink when done, over cooked shrimp is rubbery so be careful.  You should have almost everything else you need from the stuff listed above.  The only additional things are sour cream if you want it, some lime wedges, and grated cabage. Which to some may sound different but lettuce on a taco os an american thing.  You can use it if you like, I do on beef tacos, but a little grated cabage is better in my opinion on the seafood tacos.   Warm your flour tortillas a little, and put a couple on a plate. I spread the guac on one half of a tortilla, the sour cream on the other half. Lay some of the sea food mix down the middle. Squeeze a lime wedge over it. Sprinkle some grated cabage over it and top with the green salsa.  Or they are very good without cabage or lettuce too.  Fold and eat.  For a side the rice is a little lighter with the seafood, it goes well.                                    Tacos de Pollo  -  Chicken tacos Use all the same ingrediants and steps as the seafood tacos. Marinate the chiken in the same marinade.  I use bonless skinless chicken breasts but skin on chicken is very tasty in these.  I also cook the chicken breasts whole and then cut them up to make the tacos.  I use no cabage or letuce on my chicken tacos but it's all a matter of taste.  Don't forget the lime wedges.
    1889 Posted by Briana Lynn Rekowski
  •                           The Javalina Cantina   This is for south of the border foodies, or those who want to eat like one. Those who know me know that I am passionate about music, those who really know me know I also love to cook.  Living where I do I love  southwestern or Mexican food.  I don't know how far I will go with this, but my hope is to share some recipies for different dishes, some authentic, some simple (throw together things) that are still very good.  I hope to do this somewhat like my music blog and keep adding to it. I have learned so much from freinds, coworkers, and my latina ex wife, who was a horrible cook.............and a psyco, but gave me some good starting points for things I improved on.                                                       Tortillas                                          (tor tee' yas) I know this is a bad way to start this but this is one thing I have never made from scratch.  Where I live there are probably thousands of tortillarias where you can just walk in and buy a dozen fresh homade tortillas that are still warm from the griddle.  You can also buy pretty good ones from just about any grocery store.  You can also buy very bad tortillas from just about any grocery store.  The key is the shortening that is used and you don't really have to even read the lable to know the difference.  The really white, or light colored ones, yeah, those are NOT tortillas.  They are sawdust flavored throwing disks.  Authentic tortillas are made with lard and are a little darker in color and they taste much better. They may not be the healthiest but there really is a difference. I have had a recipie for tortillas for half my life but have always been to lazy to make them when I can buy them just as easy, In Mexican homes tortills are also torn into strips at the dinner table and used as spoons to eat beans and soups, or pinched around cut up meat to pick up and eat your meat and you eat the tortilla with whatever you pick up with it. Mix 2 cups of flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking powder.  Cut in 2 tbs shortening, (preferably lard) until mixture resembles corn meal. Gradually add 1/2, to 3/4 cup warm water, mix until the dough forms a ball. Knead 15 to 20 times and let stand for 15 minutes. Devide dough into 12 equal portions, shape into balls. Put the balls between two pieces of wax paper, or on a floured surface and roll them into 7 inch circles.  Cook on a medium-hot griddle for about 20 seconds on each side.   You can use these to make burro's or make quesadillas by puttting one on a medium griddle and cook one side until it just starts to brown.  Flip it and cover it with sharp cheddar, or a mixture of cheddar and jack cheese.  I like to top mine with green chili strips, and sometimes with a little salsa.                                        Salsa   If you go to Mexico and ask for pico de gallo, you will get a cup of chopped fruit with chili sauce poured over it, sounds strange but is really good. Here in the states, pico de gallo, or pico, is a chunky salsa. I almost always have fresh home made salsa in the house and I grow most of it in the back yard.  It's very easy to make and once you eat it you won't buy it in a jar ever again.                                    Pico De Gallo                                                (pee' co day guy' yo)   Core and cut 6 or 7 large tomatos into 1/4 in slices, then cut the slices into 1/4 inch strips, turn and cut the 1/4 inch strips into 1/4 inch chunks. Put into a bowl.  Cut !/2 of a large onion the same way, or use about two bunches of green onions cut into 1/4 inch pieces. The green onions give a little more color and presentation to the salsa. Add the onions to the bowl. Next is garlic, and I should tell you that I LOVE garlic. I mean I think Ben and Jerry's should make a garlic ice cream.  I will always back off a little what I actually use but two of the biggest (flavors) in good Mexican food are garlic, and lard.  I use 6 to 8 cloves of garlic, I recommend at least 4.  The garlic needs to be crushed and minced. Half each clove, peel the skin off, and cut off the the hard dark stem at the top.  To crush, you can use the side of a knife blade and sqush it on a cutting board. I use a metal meat tenderizing hammer to crush mine.  Minse it and add it to the bowl. Next you need the fire, and using fresh chilis you never know what you are going to get.  Sometimes 1 is too much, sometimes 3 aren't enough. I grow my own so I know what to expect from my plants, you will have to experiment.  I say start with one Jalapeno, or serrano pepper. Cut the top off, cut in half length wise, and keep slicing it that way untill it is a bunch of very thin strips.  Then turn it and mince it.  Either wear food service gloves when you do this or don't plan on touching your eyes until tomorrow.  Add them to bowl.  Next is celantro, coarse chop about half a bunch, (about a cup, or a little more), and add to bowl. Sprinkle some salt in the bowl and stir, sprinkle some more salt and stir again. You should always make your salsa at least 6 hours before you plan to eat it. It will taste better 6hrs, to a day after it's made and the flavors mix.  Put it in the refrigerator and stir it periodically.  I usually start tasting it after about three hours and see if any thing needs to be (bumped up).  Be carefull about adding chili's because sometimes they may not be mixed through and you may taste "all tomatoes" and may get a reall big surprize later if you add chili.     You can prepare this in a blender or food proccessor but two things, do it one ingrediant at a time separately, and mince the garlic and chop the celantro by hand.  Your salsa will not look the same doing it mechanicaly but will still taste good.  It just depends on how you want it to look.                                        Salsa Verde                                        (green salsa) Green salsa is much less work and has a little different taste. It is spicy and a little sweet. You can do almost anything with any salsa but in addition to eating the green with corn chips, I think it is really good on white meats and seafood.  If you are making fish, shrimp, or chicken tacos, this would be my choice. Take 10 tomatillos, and I really have no idea how available they will be for some of you.  If you don't know what they are, they are a type of, or related to tomatoes.  They are small, about an inch and a half, to two inches thick.  They are always green, they never turn red on the plant and they grow with a waxie loose skin wraped around them.  They are sweeter than a regular tomatoe.  They are an excelent choice for an uncovered garden because the birds won't touch them because of the cover skin.  They sell them here in most grocery stores and you can even buy seeds for them in garden departments. Anyway, take about 10 to 12 of them, peel the waxie skin off them, core them, and put them in a blender or proccessor.  Chop a 1/4, to a 1/2 of a yellow onion and put it in with the tomatillos. Crush and mince about 4 cloves of garlic, put them in with the other ingredients. I like my green a little spicy, it's a nice contrast to the sweet of the tomatillo. I use 2 jalapenos or two serranos. Chop them small but you don't need to mince. Add them to the other stuff.  Turn on your blender and let it run untill everything is liquified. Add salt, about a 1/4, to 1/2 tsp. Run the machine to mix it well.  Put it in a bowl, add celantro, less than with the pico de gallo. maybe 1/4 of a bunch finely chopped.  You just want it for color and to add a little flavor.  Like I said earlier, this is very good with fish, shrimp or chicken tacos.  It's good on corn chips too.                                       Easy Red Salsa Use all the ingredients from pico de gallo but substitute a large can of chopped tomatoes for the whole tomatoes.  Put the chopped tomatoes, the chopped onion, the jalapeno or serrano and minced garlic in a blender and liquify it. Add 1/4 tsp salt and run it again. Move it to a bowl, fine chop a 1/4 bunch of celantro and stir it in.  Canned tomatoes have "that taste".  You can eliminate the canned taste by increasing the garlic and celantro a little.  Good for corn chips or beef tacos.                                       Guacamole Half two or three very ripe avacodos, romove pits. Scoop the avacodo into a bowl. Crush and mince two garlic cloves and add to mix. Add juice from half a lime. Salt to taste.           Optional - half a minced jalapeno, one very thin slice of onion, finely minced.                                                                         Side dishes                                         Frijoles - "beans" refried                                      (free ho' lays)    You can ask a hundred different people how they make their beans and probably get a hundred different answers when it comes to ingredients, this is how I make mine.  The entire process takes about a day and a half, or there is a quicker version that takes about 5 hours, but it's not hard work.  The difference is how you prep the beans. I prefer the slow version but there really is no difference in taste.  It is said that doing them the slow way makes them..................less leathal. If you know what I mean.  Prep the beans, take one pound of dry pinto beans and rinse them, remove all the half beans.  Slow method - put them in a covered pot with 6 cups of cold water before you go to bed and let them sit over night.  Fast method - put on the stove on high, bring to a boil and let boil for about five minutes.  Remove from heat and let stand for at least one hour.   Cooking the beans - add one and a half tsp salt, 1/4 of a yellow onion finely chopped, one medium tomatoe, finely chopped, one four ounce can of diced green chilis, 6 cloves of minced garlic..........no, really, 6 cloves, ok, a little less if you want, and a pinch of oregano.... a small pinch. Cook where they are just barely boiling for about 4 hrs.  The beans should be tender when they are done. Preparing for the next step - when the beans are almost done, get a large frying pan, not a teflon coated one unless you want to ruin the pan and eat a lot of teflon., I prefer cast iron because the weight of the pan will help during the last step. You will also need about a 1/4, to a 1/2 pound of bacon. Less if it is fatty, more if it is lean. You will also need a hand potatoe masher. Cook the bacon till it is pretty crisp and put it on a plate.  Now this is the most important step of the process. EAT THE BACON.  You only cooked the bacon to get the bacon grease. I hope you didn't toss it already.  When the beans are done and the bacon grease is fairly hot. Remove about half of the liquid from the beans but save it, you will probably need it.  Make sure the bacon grease is pretty warm but not really hot.  We all know what happens when you throw water into a pan of hot grease.  Very carefully dump the beans with half of the liquid still in them into the pan and turn up the heat to medium high.  As the beans start to fry begin smashing them with the masher.  As you mash the beans they will absorb more liquid and become dryer.  Add the left over bean juice as needed to keep them kind of runny.  It is possible that you may even need to add water if you run out of bean juice and they are too dry.  If you are using the type of masher that has a wire masher it works best if you use very quick up and down strokes.  I used to have one that was a flat plate with holes in it and it worked really well for this.  When they are done you can put them in a plastic container and microwave them before you serve them.  A pound is a lot of beans but we usually will have them with different meals for a few days or make bean burros one night.  You can top them with a little cheddar, or a little canned enchilada sauce, or both, or they are very good plain.  They will be much better than any canned beans you have eaten.........but perhaps not as healthy.  Again, it's the bacon grease or lard that makes taste so good.  Enjoy                                            Arroz - rice, or spanish rice This is a pretty easy side, and a little healthier than the beans.  You can do them two ways, completely from scratch, or cheating just a little. From scratch, you will need about a cup and a half of the pico de gallo from further up the page. To cheat just a little, I use one 7oz can of salsa, the better the salsa, the better the rice will taste.  I use Herdez salsa casera, it is a really good quality canned salsa that is available in most grocery stores, although if you are in Canada or the UK, all bets are off.  I usually start with one cup of uncooked rice, This should be enough for four people, or two with leftovers.  You will need a large frying pan with a lid, some extra vigin olive oil, unless you WANT to go the lard route, a metal spatula, and a large measureng cup. One that holds at least 4 cups, and the salsa, either the canned, or the home made. The olive oil is good and more healthy, but I would never do beans with it. Put either the can of salsa, or the cup and a half of the home made pico in the large measuring cup, add enough water to the salsa to bring the cup up to four cups of liquid.  Add one and a half tsp of salt to it and stir to desolve the salt. Don't use a teflon pan.  Heat the pan up to medium high and put just enough olive oil in the pan to cover the bottom of the pan.  When the oil gets hot, just about the point where it starts to smoke, pour the rice into the oil and start stirring it right away.  Keep stirring it continuosly, don't let the rice brown, it should change to a different shade of white, I can't explain, you will know it when you see it.  When almost all of the rice has changed color, lower the heat a little and VERY CAREFULLY add the water, salsa, salt mix to the rice.  Again, we all know what happens when you pour water into hot oil, be very careful.  Stir it a couple of times and cover it.  Stir every few minutes to make sure it doesn't stick.  If you have the heat right it should be just barely boiling.  The closer it gets to being done, the dryer it will get and faster it will stick and burn so watch close when it's almost done.  If you did everything perfect it should be almost dry right when the rice is fully cooked. I will eat a bite when it's almost dry and if the rice is still a little firm, I will add about a half cup of water and continue cooking.  You can prepare this in advance also, it microwaves very well.  Just add about a half cup of water to it before you put it in the microwave.  Some people will put different things in their rice for presentation, I don't.  But I have eaten at good Mexican restaurants where they have put a very small amount of cooked carrots, or even peas in it.  The only thing I do to give it a look is use home made pico made with green onions, they stand out and add to the flavor.  Enjoy                                                                                    For the grill Marinade for white meat.  This works really well on white meat and seafood, I have tried it on pork and didn't care for it, but it's great for chicken and seafood.  Mix 8 oz of orange juice, the juice from five limes, 3/4 cup chopped celantro, 1/2 cup chopped parsely, 1/8 cup chopped basil, 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil, tsp salt, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper, and 6 cloves crushed and minced garlic...........(6 CLOVES), and a tsp of onion powder.  Marinate you meat in the refridgerator at least 4 hrs, preferably a day.  If you are doing seafood use a large container to marinate and put the meat on bamboo skewers before you put it in the marinade.  This way the skewers will be in liquid the whole time you are marinating and won't burn when you put them on the grill.  I wanted to get a whole meal done today before I quit, I'm not going to make it.  I will put the last few things in tomorrow.  But, remember when grilling seafood that it only takes about 3 minutes a side and it is done.                                       Tacos de Mariscos - Sea food tacos I like to use a mixture of shrimp and scallops, but sword fish is also good on the grill. Use medium shrimp, 1 lb, small scallops (about the size of a marble) 1 lb, and/or one or two sword fish steaks.  I buy my shrimp already deviened and peeled, I alternate shrimp and scallops on a bamboo skewer or if using swordfish, cut it into 3/4 inch squares and alternate them into the mix too.  I alternate them so when I serve them, everyone can just grab a skewer and make their own tacos.  With just the shrimp and scallops you will get about 6 to 8 skewers and each skewer will make two, to three tacos.  Use the marinade listed above and marinate the skewers in the refridgerator at least 4 hours, sometimes I will put them in marinade one afternoon and cook them the next afternoon.  I use a cake pan to marinate them in, the skewers fit very nicely in it. I always mesquite smoke my meat on the grill but oak, apple, or even pecan would probably work well with sea food.  If you don't live in the desert, I just walk down to the corner and pick my mesquite up off the ground, you can probably find smoking chips of these woods in the charcoal section at the grocery store.  Soak the wood chips in water for about 15 minutes before cooking.  I drop mine in water about the same time I start my fire if I am using charcoal.  When you spread your coals after they are ready push a few to the outside edge and put the smoking chips on those.  That way if they "light up" they won't burn your food.  Cook the skewers on a medium hot grill for about 3 minutes on one side, turn and cook 3 minutes on the other side.  The shrimp will be pink when done, over cooked shrimp is rubbery so be careful.  You should have almost everything else you need from the stuff listed above.  The only additional things are sour cream if you want it, some lime wedges, and grated cabage. Which to some may sound different but lettuce on a taco os an american thing.  You can use it if you like, I do on beef tacos, but a little grated cabage is better in my opinion on the seafood tacos.   Warm your flour tortillas a little, and put a couple on a plate. I spread the guac on one half of a tortilla, the sour cream on the other half. Lay some of the sea food mix down the middle. Squeeze a lime wedge over it. Sprinkle some grated cabage over it and top with the green salsa.  Or they are very good without cabage or lettuce too.  Fold and eat.  For a side the rice is a little lighter with the seafood, it goes well.                                    Tacos de Pollo  -  Chicken tacos Use all the same ingrediants and steps as the seafood tacos. Marinate the chiken in the same marinade.  I use bonless skinless chicken breasts but skin on chicken is very tasty in these.  I also cook the chicken breasts whole and then cut them up to make the tacos.  I use no cabage or letuce on my chicken tacos but it's all a matter of taste.  Don't forget the lime wedges.
    Apr 24, 2011 1889
  • 05 Nov 2011
      Reading some post I noticed that some of us are referred to as the old timers. I guess we are. I've been at this site for a number of years. It's not the long time members that keep this site moving. As our numbers are getting smaller. It's the new members that keep things flowing. New thoughts, new ideas.  It's change & it's a good change.      I've been in a kind of funk for to long now. I keep thinking I'll be my old self again soon & have some fun here. But for some reason I just don't.  So many new girls I don't know. Don't take that wrong I think their great & wish I was on better speaking terms with all of them. Thye problem is not all the new names & faces it's me. I want to contribute more but I just don't. I just don't take the time or feel up to it. When I came to except that I will never be able to be the woman I want to be nothing really mattered anymore. Just living day to day.
    1887 Posted by Karen Brad
  •   Reading some post I noticed that some of us are referred to as the old timers. I guess we are. I've been at this site for a number of years. It's not the long time members that keep this site moving. As our numbers are getting smaller. It's the new members that keep things flowing. New thoughts, new ideas.  It's change & it's a good change.      I've been in a kind of funk for to long now. I keep thinking I'll be my old self again soon & have some fun here. But for some reason I just don't.  So many new girls I don't know. Don't take that wrong I think their great & wish I was on better speaking terms with all of them. Thye problem is not all the new names & faces it's me. I want to contribute more but I just don't. I just don't take the time or feel up to it. When I came to except that I will never be able to be the woman I want to be nothing really mattered anymore. Just living day to day.
    Nov 05, 2011 1887
  • 06 Sep 2009
     I'd be lieing if i said i HADNT been thinking about eventually having srs but if i'm honest with myself i can't see it happening if ever. Because at this moment in time for me, its not the be all & end all of things. Life's pretty good right now apart from the job situation. My Family are much more supportive now, not that they weren't before. I've been with my Charllet almost 4 years now & i've never been happier. But its the situation with my dad thats changed beyond belief. When i first came out, he really did not want to know. Infact it seemed he was more worried about what peeps would think of him and the rest of the family & he didnt care about me. Over the years he's slowly got his head round things, knowin i'm still the same person inside. Christmas 2007 was a big step cos it was the first time i'd ever been home  where i could be me 100%. Things have progressed so much now, that if there's anythin i need doing then if its possible then he will.  4 years ago i couldn't have envisaged this happenning but it has. OK im not having srs now, but i'm pretty happy with life as it is now.xxxxxxxxx
    1887 Posted by Anna-Marie Trindall
  •  I'd be lieing if i said i HADNT been thinking about eventually having srs but if i'm honest with myself i can't see it happening if ever. Because at this moment in time for me, its not the be all & end all of things. Life's pretty good right now apart from the job situation. My Family are much more supportive now, not that they weren't before. I've been with my Charllet almost 4 years now & i've never been happier. But its the situation with my dad thats changed beyond belief. When i first came out, he really did not want to know. Infact it seemed he was more worried about what peeps would think of him and the rest of the family & he didnt care about me. Over the years he's slowly got his head round things, knowin i'm still the same person inside. Christmas 2007 was a big step cos it was the first time i'd ever been home  where i could be me 100%. Things have progressed so much now, that if there's anythin i need doing then if its possible then he will.  4 years ago i couldn't have envisaged this happenning but it has. OK im not having srs now, but i'm pretty happy with life as it is now.xxxxxxxxx
    Sep 06, 2009 1887
  • 25 Jul 2011
    I was talking with my sister or realy she was talking, I was listning, sort of. She asked me to hold on a second so she could check on something. As I was waiting I looked down at my legs & commented out loud that I needed to shave them. Well my sister heard my comment. That when she told she was sorry because she thinks it might be her fault. I don't remember ever having worn a dress before I was 7 or 8yrs old. But she told me that one summer when I was 4 or 5 our parents had to go to a funeral down south. They were gone for 3 weeks. I was left in my sisters care. I had 2 sisters living at home then. One was 10 the other 16. There was also another one that was married & she checked on us everyday. I guess I was being a little hard to handle. I had made a big mess in the kitchen & my clothes were covered in ketchup. It was the second time I made a mess of my clothes that day & my sister was so mad that she put a dress on me. All my sisters passed thier clothes down as they got older since we didn't have much money, so there were a lot of old dresses.  I guess my sister got the idea to keep me dressed as a girl. She talked me into it telling me it would be a lot more fun if I were a girl. So for the rest of the time my parents were gone I was dressed as a little girl. I don't remember any of it, wish I did. Now my sister is blaming herself for me being a TS. After she told me all this I wanted to say thank you. But I didn't say anything. I don't think that had anything to do with it but who knows?
    1887 Posted by Karen Brad
  • I was talking with my sister or realy she was talking, I was listning, sort of. She asked me to hold on a second so she could check on something. As I was waiting I looked down at my legs & commented out loud that I needed to shave them. Well my sister heard my comment. That when she told she was sorry because she thinks it might be her fault. I don't remember ever having worn a dress before I was 7 or 8yrs old. But she told me that one summer when I was 4 or 5 our parents had to go to a funeral down south. They were gone for 3 weeks. I was left in my sisters care. I had 2 sisters living at home then. One was 10 the other 16. There was also another one that was married & she checked on us everyday. I guess I was being a little hard to handle. I had made a big mess in the kitchen & my clothes were covered in ketchup. It was the second time I made a mess of my clothes that day & my sister was so mad that she put a dress on me. All my sisters passed thier clothes down as they got older since we didn't have much money, so there were a lot of old dresses.  I guess my sister got the idea to keep me dressed as a girl. She talked me into it telling me it would be a lot more fun if I were a girl. So for the rest of the time my parents were gone I was dressed as a little girl. I don't remember any of it, wish I did. Now my sister is blaming herself for me being a TS. After she told me all this I wanted to say thank you. But I didn't say anything. I don't think that had anything to do with it but who knows?
    Jul 25, 2011 1887
  • 09 Oct 2011
    When you want or feel the need to dress allmost all the time but can't pass life gets to be lonely.  When I dress it means I can't go out the door. Evan when I go to great pains to look as good as I can. So if I put on a skirt or a dress I have to stay home & I am dressed all the time. I can't evan open my blinds because of kids out playing. I don't want to confuse them with things their not ready for.  This means no interaction with others. As time goes on it gets worse & worse.  I don't go out except to run small erronds. Sometimes I won't evan do that because I don't want to change. I live in a small condo so my nieghbors are close by & they notice that I don't go out. Sometimes my car won't move for days at a time. It also means I don't talk to others. Thats started another problem. Depression. So now I don't interact here any more because I have nothing to talk about except work since that's my only outlet. The one sister I'm close to doesn't seem to have time to talk much as her life is busy. So I guess it's my own fault that I feel this way. My shrink says to stop dressing so much. But than I'm not being me. So I don't know the answer.
    1884 Posted by Karen Brad
  • When you want or feel the need to dress allmost all the time but can't pass life gets to be lonely.  When I dress it means I can't go out the door. Evan when I go to great pains to look as good as I can. So if I put on a skirt or a dress I have to stay home & I am dressed all the time. I can't evan open my blinds because of kids out playing. I don't want to confuse them with things their not ready for.  This means no interaction with others. As time goes on it gets worse & worse.  I don't go out except to run small erronds. Sometimes I won't evan do that because I don't want to change. I live in a small condo so my nieghbors are close by & they notice that I don't go out. Sometimes my car won't move for days at a time. It also means I don't talk to others. Thats started another problem. Depression. So now I don't interact here any more because I have nothing to talk about except work since that's my only outlet. The one sister I'm close to doesn't seem to have time to talk much as her life is busy. So I guess it's my own fault that I feel this way. My shrink says to stop dressing so much. But than I'm not being me. So I don't know the answer.
    Oct 09, 2011 1884
  • 17 Nov 2008
    Evening at the grocery. I was on my way home. I'd stopped for a few items as I often do. The Gala apples looked good but I was tending toward the Macintosh. In the middle of my consideration, I heard heels clicking resolutely toward me on the tiles behind. A tall well-dressed blonde passed me, glancing as if inconvenienced at me as she headed toward the deli section. I chose the Macintosh.Pushing my card through the vegetable bins, I adjusted my red ski jacket for comfort. Its one of those puffy sort of jackets, it's principal merit being warmth but it does have a tucked in waist. At work I wear a short (just above the knee) blue denim skirt and white sneakers with scrunchy socks. I think I look it makes me look athletic. The heels clicked toward me again. She passed -- again -- but this time three or so steps beyond she stopped and turned muttering about the challenges of finding some item or other. I had a better look at her. She was about my age and even about my size. She was very well made up and looked very professional in a black knit dress. I pushed my cart past her toward the bakery section.It happens -- and not so infrequently -- that your route through the grocery is the same as others and you see them throughout your visit. This seemed to be the case with this woman for there she was in the bakery, an aisle or two over inspecting a loaf of bread (which, being North America can be taken as odd because all bread comes pre-sliced and packaged in plastic, the texture of the which being the only means of judging the quality of the bread within). I went for the 12-grain whole wheat bread because it has lots of flax and I'm hoping to lose some weight. I was reading the nutritional facts when I realized that I was not alone. I looked up."Are you T G?" she asked leaning slightly forward as if presenting a password challenge to a co-conspirator. I took as a compliment that there was a bit of hesitation in her voice. Clearly, with her so close I realized that she was."Yes." I don't know why but I had an overwhelming urge to turn up my collar, to take the safety off my Barretta, to check around to see if we were still incognito and whisper."Well put your shoulders back, you walk like a guy! I clocked you the moment that I saw you."  Well, that hurt. She turned and walked away.Nobody but trans-people use the expression ' clock '. Personally, I find it really tacky, an affectation of our ' community '. I have realized that being 'clocked' is not something that others do but something that we do to ourselves. If you're not looking for a response in the eyes of others, you won't find it. But, I couldn't leave the encounter at that. I gave chase."Excuse me." I offered, negotiating the bins of cheese in dairy. She stopped. I wondered if she was in some way embarassed by me. Hey, I'm on my way home from work as a clerk. I didn't know that I had to dress to go shopping."My name is Ann." I offered my hand. "Joanne."I really don't recall the substance of the conversation -- why I don't know. There aren't a lot of professional girls to get to know and I hoped that we might. I said so. The conversation was short and ended with my offer to get together for coffee. I began to search my purse for a pen. She pushed a card into my hand, "You call me." I considered the card for moment. There was a name from high school. Surely very few people have that last name. If not them, could Joanne be related to a high school friend of my brother? Can't be.William's Coffee Shop is a great place to meet. Nice ambiance; good coffee. I waited on Joanne. I was early; She arrived a few minutes late. We talked. We talked about the issues of being trans, about the slights and injuries of our life, the people we knew and lost and new friends that we made. We talked for about an hour and as conversations tend to do, it became slowly more personal, more intimate."Did you grow up in London," I asked. My home town."Yes.""Where did you go to high school?" I pursued. My High School."Westminster." Could this be?"May I ask what your previous name was?""W___ ." she said. "You had a old Chevy Biscayne." Her eyes widened."And you have a brother, G_____." she responded with growing recognition. "I do." confirming what we both now knew. We had spend high school together eating lunches with my brother and other friends. It was then that I truly knew that my gender dysphoria was caused by going to high school.
    1864 Posted by Ann Teve
  • Evening at the grocery. I was on my way home. I'd stopped for a few items as I often do. The Gala apples looked good but I was tending toward the Macintosh. In the middle of my consideration, I heard heels clicking resolutely toward me on the tiles behind. A tall well-dressed blonde passed me, glancing as if inconvenienced at me as she headed toward the deli section. I chose the Macintosh.Pushing my card through the vegetable bins, I adjusted my red ski jacket for comfort. Its one of those puffy sort of jackets, it's principal merit being warmth but it does have a tucked in waist. At work I wear a short (just above the knee) blue denim skirt and white sneakers with scrunchy socks. I think I look it makes me look athletic. The heels clicked toward me again. She passed -- again -- but this time three or so steps beyond she stopped and turned muttering about the challenges of finding some item or other. I had a better look at her. She was about my age and even about my size. She was very well made up and looked very professional in a black knit dress. I pushed my cart past her toward the bakery section.It happens -- and not so infrequently -- that your route through the grocery is the same as others and you see them throughout your visit. This seemed to be the case with this woman for there she was in the bakery, an aisle or two over inspecting a loaf of bread (which, being North America can be taken as odd because all bread comes pre-sliced and packaged in plastic, the texture of the which being the only means of judging the quality of the bread within). I went for the 12-grain whole wheat bread because it has lots of flax and I'm hoping to lose some weight. I was reading the nutritional facts when I realized that I was not alone. I looked up."Are you T G?" she asked leaning slightly forward as if presenting a password challenge to a co-conspirator. I took as a compliment that there was a bit of hesitation in her voice. Clearly, with her so close I realized that she was."Yes." I don't know why but I had an overwhelming urge to turn up my collar, to take the safety off my Barretta, to check around to see if we were still incognito and whisper."Well put your shoulders back, you walk like a guy! I clocked you the moment that I saw you."  Well, that hurt. She turned and walked away.Nobody but trans-people use the expression ' clock '. Personally, I find it really tacky, an affectation of our ' community '. I have realized that being 'clocked' is not something that others do but something that we do to ourselves. If you're not looking for a response in the eyes of others, you won't find it. But, I couldn't leave the encounter at that. I gave chase."Excuse me." I offered, negotiating the bins of cheese in dairy. She stopped. I wondered if she was in some way embarassed by me. Hey, I'm on my way home from work as a clerk. I didn't know that I had to dress to go shopping."My name is Ann." I offered my hand. "Joanne."I really don't recall the substance of the conversation -- why I don't know. There aren't a lot of professional girls to get to know and I hoped that we might. I said so. The conversation was short and ended with my offer to get together for coffee. I began to search my purse for a pen. She pushed a card into my hand, "You call me." I considered the card for moment. There was a name from high school. Surely very few people have that last name. If not them, could Joanne be related to a high school friend of my brother? Can't be.William's Coffee Shop is a great place to meet. Nice ambiance; good coffee. I waited on Joanne. I was early; She arrived a few minutes late. We talked. We talked about the issues of being trans, about the slights and injuries of our life, the people we knew and lost and new friends that we made. We talked for about an hour and as conversations tend to do, it became slowly more personal, more intimate."Did you grow up in London," I asked. My home town."Yes.""Where did you go to high school?" I pursued. My High School."Westminster." Could this be?"May I ask what your previous name was?""W___ ." she said. "You had a old Chevy Biscayne." Her eyes widened."And you have a brother, G_____." she responded with growing recognition. "I do." confirming what we both now knew. We had spend high school together eating lunches with my brother and other friends. It was then that I truly knew that my gender dysphoria was caused by going to high school.
    Nov 17, 2008 1864
  • 17 Jul 2010
    I know I don't blog as much as I used to.  It's hard to do that working two full time gigs.Dad is doing fine.  Thanks for your well wishes.Josie is doing fine.  Thanks for your well wishes.More later!I hope you're doing fine.  Thank yourself for well wishes.
    1861 Posted by Meredith Newton
  • I know I don't blog as much as I used to.  It's hard to do that working two full time gigs.Dad is doing fine.  Thanks for your well wishes.Josie is doing fine.  Thanks for your well wishes.More later!I hope you're doing fine.  Thank yourself for well wishes.
    Jul 17, 2010 1861
  • 30 Sep 2009
    It was just after 9:00 am on Monday, September 21st 2009 that mother passed away. It was exactly one month from the day that I acted to fulfill her final wish and brought her home. It was three months since I'd had known that her time was near, nine months since I knew that she was even ill and nearly three years since the day I'd arrived at home to be her company in her final years and to begin the final steps of my own transition.I have lived as Ann for two years now. It has passed in a blink. It wasn't as I imagined it would be. In some ways it was incredibly easy. From the very first day that I arrived at work as Ann, I didn't feel special in any way. Within days, as I now recall, I was Ann. After a life's denial, I guess I expected that it would feel special, different, but it didn't. Did that mean that I'd found myself or was I missing the whole point?Confidence came quickly to me and for that I must credit my few friends and especially my mother. She'd lost a son but gained a daughter but she did so with grace and kindness and without qualification. We spent a lot of time together, she and I. We'd go shopping and I'd give all the time that she wanted. We'd stop for coffee at Tim Horton's. We'd sit and she'd review her life with candor and honesty, sharing with me as a friend more than as one of her children. She accepted me, wholly. It was a wonderful time.The pain of crisis that I had endured in the final months before my decision to transition became a reality -- the moment when I left behind my old life, a wife, a house and home, a business, my whole world -- to be myself melted away in her company. I found a style as Ann very similar to my style as Michael. I found inside me the very same person I'd always been. Why does the outward appearance matter so much to us? We must have been quite a pair as we shopped for groceries, we were noticed and often clerks or stock boys would talk to us. We became known. Our lives intertwined. She talked of the future and the little time left, but it wasn't real.I visited her every day in hospital. She seemed well enough. Certainly, she could be feisty. My siblings came and determined that I could no longer look after her. I 'wasn't well enough'. Mother accepted this at first but as time passed her mind changed. She wanted to go home. The family resisted and pressured her. She resisted in silence, often doubting that she could survive in palliative care or even a home for the elderly. "What ever it is that you wish, mother, that I what I will do."A day came that the doctor told her, "There are only a few months now." and she turned to me and said, "Please, would you take me home?"  I did.The anger of the family at this was soon revealed. She came home able to walk with a walker, but no one came to visit. No one called. "I have done the right thing." she would say to me, "I just want to be at home." In that first week, she walked to the table each morning. We watched the morning sun sparkle through the branches and onto the lawn. I cooked porridge and she'd ask for Cream of Wheat. I'd make scrambled eggs and she would ask for a poached egg. I happily complied. We talked until she tired. Slowly she would find her way back to the bedroom to rest. I would sit in the garden and wait and wonder what the end would be like -- for both of us.Being a caregiver is quite beyond the effort of simply being company. The load was greater than I expected and tenderness and attention take great effort. I began to weaken with the effort and grew resentful that the family was silent and absent -- their way of showing displeasure. As I stood in the dark silence of evening garden, sipping the day's last coffee, smoking a cigarette to calm myself, my neighbour would peer over the garden fence and invite me into his garden for a few minutes conversation and a beer."Where is your family?" he would ask. He would share insights of his mother's passing at home and assured me of my strength. I felt comforted.In the second week, the walker was surrendered to a wheelchair. Support nurses began to visit each day. The local hospice came with support for me. I could finally sleep. The house began to change as furniture was moved to make way for the wheelchair and the meals became small. Her naps grew longer and more frequent. I sat in longer, deeper silence with my thoughts. I wondered at my future. I felt alone and unable.There was no time for a job now. I asked for a leave but was told I was now "too unreliable" and they couldn't commit to my return. I left in anger and relief, but I was scared. I had no job.There was support in the house now -- for mother and for me -- but still no family. At the end of the second week, mother lapsed badly. I called the family. An army of siblings arrived with partners in tow. I was displaced as if I were no more than staff. Mother regained and could talk. Tears were shed, help was offered. And then they all left.In the third week the wheelchair too was surrendered, for only brief moments was mother out of bed. A hospital bed arrived, and oxygen. With each day, home slipped away. Meals became delicate, quiet and brief. My infringement of her dignity, the essential intimacy of patient and caregiver grew, as I helped her with her toilet and helped her to and from bed. She talked little and slept often. I brought a flower each day from the garden. Each was her favourite. The summer began to wane and I worked the garden to find some peace and sense.  I slept in her displaced bed, next to the hospital bed. She slipped further away.In the fourth week, the family arrived. The trials of the passed weeks were ignored. My older sister took over. She interceded with the doctor and nurses who visited. I was given instructions of what I should be doing. I was now told how to care for mother. I was hurt more deeply than I know and angered too. My desire to fulfill mother's last wish to me was usurped. I felt petty and guilty for my anger. Emotions boiled and all the while mother slipped further away, but we shared a nightly vigil.I have worked in a hospital. I have seen dying and death. I have been dispassionate, but you cannot be so with family. Mother had guided me through the darkest parts of my transition, through the losses, the regrets and the doubts. She had been a constant in my life. That light was going out. Finally, her voice and perhaps thoughts were silenced. Throughout, mother had declined painkillers. I don't know if she felt pain but certainly she wanted to be aware and awake as long as possible. My sister and I argued. "Leave her be!", I wanted to shout at my sister. Medication was given once and then rejected by mother by silent waves and pursed lips. Finally in a moment of clarity, mother accepted the nurse's suggestion of morphine. I knew with that that the end had come.I stayed with her that night, each few hours administering a needle of morphine. It was not a long night, nor was it tiring. It was a night that seemed to take place all at once in my memory. I brushed her hair lightly not to disturb her sleep. Her breathing faded. I lay in the bed beside, without thoughts. At dawn I gave her a last needle. I knew that for me she was already gone. I woke my sister that she might share whatever last moments remained. Whatever last moment my sister needed with mother I wanted her to have. At 9:00 am the nurse came quietly out of the room and announced her passing. I didn't cry. I didn't feel sadness or regret. I felt relief that her struggle was over. I hoped that I had fulfilled her wish.
    1860 Posted by Ann Teve
  • It was just after 9:00 am on Monday, September 21st 2009 that mother passed away. It was exactly one month from the day that I acted to fulfill her final wish and brought her home. It was three months since I'd had known that her time was near, nine months since I knew that she was even ill and nearly three years since the day I'd arrived at home to be her company in her final years and to begin the final steps of my own transition.I have lived as Ann for two years now. It has passed in a blink. It wasn't as I imagined it would be. In some ways it was incredibly easy. From the very first day that I arrived at work as Ann, I didn't feel special in any way. Within days, as I now recall, I was Ann. After a life's denial, I guess I expected that it would feel special, different, but it didn't. Did that mean that I'd found myself or was I missing the whole point?Confidence came quickly to me and for that I must credit my few friends and especially my mother. She'd lost a son but gained a daughter but she did so with grace and kindness and without qualification. We spent a lot of time together, she and I. We'd go shopping and I'd give all the time that she wanted. We'd stop for coffee at Tim Horton's. We'd sit and she'd review her life with candor and honesty, sharing with me as a friend more than as one of her children. She accepted me, wholly. It was a wonderful time.The pain of crisis that I had endured in the final months before my decision to transition became a reality -- the moment when I left behind my old life, a wife, a house and home, a business, my whole world -- to be myself melted away in her company. I found a style as Ann very similar to my style as Michael. I found inside me the very same person I'd always been. Why does the outward appearance matter so much to us? We must have been quite a pair as we shopped for groceries, we were noticed and often clerks or stock boys would talk to us. We became known. Our lives intertwined. She talked of the future and the little time left, but it wasn't real.I visited her every day in hospital. She seemed well enough. Certainly, she could be feisty. My siblings came and determined that I could no longer look after her. I 'wasn't well enough'. Mother accepted this at first but as time passed her mind changed. She wanted to go home. The family resisted and pressured her. She resisted in silence, often doubting that she could survive in palliative care or even a home for the elderly. "What ever it is that you wish, mother, that I what I will do."A day came that the doctor told her, "There are only a few months now." and she turned to me and said, "Please, would you take me home?"  I did.The anger of the family at this was soon revealed. She came home able to walk with a walker, but no one came to visit. No one called. "I have done the right thing." she would say to me, "I just want to be at home." In that first week, she walked to the table each morning. We watched the morning sun sparkle through the branches and onto the lawn. I cooked porridge and she'd ask for Cream of Wheat. I'd make scrambled eggs and she would ask for a poached egg. I happily complied. We talked until she tired. Slowly she would find her way back to the bedroom to rest. I would sit in the garden and wait and wonder what the end would be like -- for both of us.Being a caregiver is quite beyond the effort of simply being company. The load was greater than I expected and tenderness and attention take great effort. I began to weaken with the effort and grew resentful that the family was silent and absent -- their way of showing displeasure. As I stood in the dark silence of evening garden, sipping the day's last coffee, smoking a cigarette to calm myself, my neighbour would peer over the garden fence and invite me into his garden for a few minutes conversation and a beer."Where is your family?" he would ask. He would share insights of his mother's passing at home and assured me of my strength. I felt comforted.In the second week, the walker was surrendered to a wheelchair. Support nurses began to visit each day. The local hospice came with support for me. I could finally sleep. The house began to change as furniture was moved to make way for the wheelchair and the meals became small. Her naps grew longer and more frequent. I sat in longer, deeper silence with my thoughts. I wondered at my future. I felt alone and unable.There was no time for a job now. I asked for a leave but was told I was now "too unreliable" and they couldn't commit to my return. I left in anger and relief, but I was scared. I had no job.There was support in the house now -- for mother and for me -- but still no family. At the end of the second week, mother lapsed badly. I called the family. An army of siblings arrived with partners in tow. I was displaced as if I were no more than staff. Mother regained and could talk. Tears were shed, help was offered. And then they all left.In the third week the wheelchair too was surrendered, for only brief moments was mother out of bed. A hospital bed arrived, and oxygen. With each day, home slipped away. Meals became delicate, quiet and brief. My infringement of her dignity, the essential intimacy of patient and caregiver grew, as I helped her with her toilet and helped her to and from bed. She talked little and slept often. I brought a flower each day from the garden. Each was her favourite. The summer began to wane and I worked the garden to find some peace and sense.  I slept in her displaced bed, next to the hospital bed. She slipped further away.In the fourth week, the family arrived. The trials of the passed weeks were ignored. My older sister took over. She interceded with the doctor and nurses who visited. I was given instructions of what I should be doing. I was now told how to care for mother. I was hurt more deeply than I know and angered too. My desire to fulfill mother's last wish to me was usurped. I felt petty and guilty for my anger. Emotions boiled and all the while mother slipped further away, but we shared a nightly vigil.I have worked in a hospital. I have seen dying and death. I have been dispassionate, but you cannot be so with family. Mother had guided me through the darkest parts of my transition, through the losses, the regrets and the doubts. She had been a constant in my life. That light was going out. Finally, her voice and perhaps thoughts were silenced. Throughout, mother had declined painkillers. I don't know if she felt pain but certainly she wanted to be aware and awake as long as possible. My sister and I argued. "Leave her be!", I wanted to shout at my sister. Medication was given once and then rejected by mother by silent waves and pursed lips. Finally in a moment of clarity, mother accepted the nurse's suggestion of morphine. I knew with that that the end had come.I stayed with her that night, each few hours administering a needle of morphine. It was not a long night, nor was it tiring. It was a night that seemed to take place all at once in my memory. I brushed her hair lightly not to disturb her sleep. Her breathing faded. I lay in the bed beside, without thoughts. At dawn I gave her a last needle. I knew that for me she was already gone. I woke my sister that she might share whatever last moments remained. Whatever last moment my sister needed with mother I wanted her to have. At 9:00 am the nurse came quietly out of the room and announced her passing. I didn't cry. I didn't feel sadness or regret. I felt relief that her struggle was over. I hoped that I had fulfilled her wish.
    Sep 30, 2009 1860